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Saturday, November 13, 2010
The Nation has moved

We Gone - New Nation of One site

The Nation has moved. Join us in our new location:


www.NationofOne.us




Posted at 12:54 pm by BronxBoy
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Friday, November 12, 2010
Friday, Nov. 12, 2010

Nation Note (NN): This blog site sucks. I wrote this entry Thursday night and this POS of a site wouldn't let me post it. Anyway, waste not, want not. Here it is. I am changing over to Word Press this weekend - Ill notify you of the new blog address on this page. Oy.

When Black Friday comes

I just saw a story on Yahoo news, which often runs video of kittens doing cute thing, saying that there has been a major national security breach, and some how, some way,  the world has found out too soon what Target is selling for cheap on Black Friday. Imagine! This is akin to the information leak that preceded the Bay of Pigs invasion. Now we know. Among other items I now know that by awakening at an ungodly hour and schelping out to the nearest Target store the day after Thanksgiving I can be rewarded with a two-slice sandwich maker for the astonishing price of 3, count them, 3  American dollars. Honey, set the alarm and warm up the car.

You know I do actually participate in the Black Friday shopping extravaganza. At least I have for the past two years. I first suggested attending the day after Thanksgiving door buster deal day way back in 2008 because I thought it was funny and maybe even a little amusing. I mean what could be more fun than getting up at 4 in the morning to have the ability to spend money? Nothing. Sex, maybe, but not by a lot.  That first year, actually La Sooze and I benefitted from a hot tip we uncovered ourselves without the aid of Yahoo news when we were at a Target store and a clerk let slip sotto voce that the ol' Tarjay would be selling flat screen televisions at a low, low price on Black Friday. We happened to be in the market for a flat screen for Christmas for Little Kev and so we made the pre-dawn schlep and stood in line with literally hundreds of our closest friends and smoothly scored our television for a terrific price. Based on that experience I was absolutely hooked. I mean there is just something about getting a deal, no? Especially when you actually have to work for it. Like I felt like when I pushed my cart with a big box filled with television set into the freezing cold parking lot that first Black Friday (BF) morning, that I had accomplished something. I came, I shopped, I conquered. Veni, Visa, Vici! Having already popped my BF cherry, there was no question that last year La Sooze and I would do it again, and so we did. This time we went to the local mall at crack 'o dawn because some video game store there had a terrific deal on a PS3 game console complete with free games. Number One son Sean happened to want a PS3 and so we went again and this time we stood inside, which was a big plus, and we scored again. Such satisfaction.  As it turned out, Little Kev ended up taking the PS3 with him to college so Sean is once again PS 3-less and not happy about it. Actually he wants an iPhone this year desperately. Do they sell those at Target?

Of course there are drawbacks to this BF thing, in addition to having to awaken at a time that I have not seen since I was a drunk, and in those days I was not lucid at that hour. The biggest drawback is that BF kind of encourages selfishness and greed and so the kind of people who turn out for these things are not exactly nuns and pacifists. These are people who would cut your throat for 10 percent off. Sean has a friend, a biga biga boy, who gets paid every year to take the Christmas gift orders of his nearest relatives and then he gets up and goes to BF sales and will steamroll you for a sale item. One year he literally jacked an item right out of someone's shopping cart because a family member had it on their list and there were none left on the shelves. So he saw one in a cart pushed by some old lady and he helped himself. Classic BF behavior. Anyway tonight when I read this Target leak story on the internet I mentioned it to La Sooze and she shot me a look like I'd just asked her if I could borrow a pair of her pumps, and then she simply looked at me and said "No." When La Sooze goes monosyllabic on me, I know she means business. So it looks like my Cal Ripkenesque streak of two straight BF appearances might be broken, although I did see where they had a terrific sale at Target on X-Box. Maybe I'll just ring up Sean's friend and he can rip one out of Mother Teresa's cart for me.

Oh and also I have not mentioned anything about books for a long time, have I? I haven't mentioned anything about water board torture or the Atlanta Falcons either, but let's stay on topic here. Several weeks ago I was moaning to you that I did not have a book to read and since then I picked up W. Somerset Maugham's  Of Human Bondage, whch I have read about five times before but never tire of. Love that book. Any tome that contains the line  "It is cruel to discover one's mediocrity only when it is too late," is A-OK with me, since I consider myself to be an expert at being mediocre. Anyway I still haven't bought Kindle yet so I can be right on and modern about my reading, but I will eventually. It is in the plan. In the meantime last night I went to the library looking for a biography of Al Capone but could not find one. I needed a little non-fiction to cleanse the palette. I ended up instead getting Boardwalk Empire, the book that the HBO show tht I am obsessed with, is based on. I just started reading it today on the subway so I will reserve my opinion, though early returns indicate B-O-R-I-N-G. We'll see.

So listen, before I hit the Country Squire to begin resting up for Black Friday I wanted to ask you if you noticed a change in the Nation today? No your eyes are not playing tricks on you. The type is bigger. The reason it's bigger is because La Sooze said to me today that if there is one thing she could change about the Nation, besides my blatant misspellings, it would be the type size. Too small, says La Sooze, sometimes it all runs together.  La Sooze's wish, of course, is my command, and so you see before you the product of my deep and abiding love Ė 12 point type. Nice huh? Arial too. Nothing too much for my baby.  Now of course the Nation looks like the Reader's Digest version for the sight impaired, but at least it's decipherable. I figured I'd try this out and see what our 10s of readers think about the type size. If it's too big we'll go back. In the meantime, drop the Wal-Mart reading glasses and feel the vibe. The Nation goes BIG time.


Posted at 11:24 pm by BronxBoy
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Thurs., Nov. 11, 2010

Jack O'Brien and the jokester chicken sammy

It is Wednesday night here in the brown and holy east and that can only mean one thing. Well two things. First it means that it is rehearsal night for the church band. Check. Some decent and heartfelt songs will be played to the glory of G*d on Sunday at the ol' Grace Evangelical Lutheran church on Carroll Street in Westminnie. Second, it means I am sitting here eating a chicken sammy from Chik-Fil-A. I do this every week. I am so boring. But hear me out on this one. First of all, for those of you who do not have access to the fabulous foodie of Chik-Fil-A  you cannot begin to understand the remarkable goodness of this comfort food. Chi-Fil-A, which I think is only on the east coast but don't quote me on that since I have not read their annual report, uses actual chicken in their sammies. At least I think they do. It looks like chicken anyway, not like oatmeal smashed into a circular shape. This makes their food worth eating right there. Plus they have waffle fries. Does anyone not pine for waffle fries?  So as you know from our story I have a very limited palette. Seriously, there are a handful of foods I will eat. There are many more I will not touch.  I am now past 50 years of age, for instance, and I have never, ever eaten a salad. Ever. Can't stand the thought of it.  People quite often remark on the fact that I am a complete freak when I say to waiters at restaurants, that no, I don't want a salad because I do not eat a salad because the thought of eating such a thing makes warm liquid rise in my throat. To quote an old family saying "I wouldn't put it in my mouth." And I wouldn't.  So with a very limited menu available to me I often hit on something I like and then eat it like I am the company spokesperson. Chik Fil-A chicken sammies fall into this category. I take 'em to the house. Every Wednesday at a minimum. Delish. Anyway I bother to mention all this only because tonight I had to change my routine a bit. See for the past year or so every Wednesday night after band rehearsal I have eaten not just a chicken sammy from the Fil-A but a SPICY chicken sammy, which is a chicken sammy basted in a little Tabasco. Yummy. The first time I ate one of these I believe I moaned in sheer ecstasy and may have even thrust my pelvis in a forward motion. That good. But the problem is that these spicy slices of heaven between bread have lately been, shall we say, reminding me of their presence the following day. On recent Thursdays I will be driving to work in the white Accord when suddenly I will get this feeling in my stomach that if I were to put a sound to it I would say it would be a single strike on a kettle drum Ė bawum! Deep and resonant. And I will think, aw man, I have to drive all the way to the train station and then take the subway 13 stops and then walk to the office and take the elevator to the only floor in the building that has a bathroom I will use and then pray no one is in the one and only stall I will actually sit in and then do Chik Fila-A business. It is all too much. So tonight under great duress I made a life-changing decision. I got the regular chicken sammy and not the spicy one. So I just reduced my life menu by one, so now there are probably only 19 items in the world I will let pass my lips. But waffle fries are still on there. They don't make me go poo poos.

So listen I have to mention this because it annoys me. Little Kev, who is trooping through his first semester in college at Syracuse University, home of the Orangemen, was the victim of a practical joke today. How I hate practical jokes. They are neither practical nor funny. Also, how I loathe practical jokers. Yesterday, I believe, someone left a note the door of Kev's dorm room while he was away no doubt studiously attending a class. Upon his return he discovered said note which was written in girlie handwriting and contained hearts for the dots over I's and all that. The note said that Kev was a hunka hunka burning love and that the writer, a mystery hot girl, would reveal her identity if Kev would meet her at the bike rack in front of a certain dorm today at a specified hour. To his credit Kev suspected from the start that this was a ruse and said as much, but, of course the whole thing was intriguing enough that he wondered what was up. Also to his credit he did not necessarily plan to show up like a dupe to the bike rack with a boquet of flowers but asked a friend to go there beforehand and scope things out so that Kev would not end up on You Tube playing the fool. Anyway someone told him before the appointed hour that it was a joke and spared him further embarrassment, but let me say that as the father of the butt of the intended joke it still pisses me off, even if Kev just seemed to shrug it off as no biggie. I have no tolerance for practical jokes. It is, in a way, emotional bullying, I suppose at the worst but at the least it's putting someone in a potentially embarrassing or humiliating situation and that is just not right. Anyone who plays a practical joke has some intent in his heart. This is my theory. I mean, who the hell wants to be played for a chump? Not me. Once in college I was at a bar with some guys I worked with at the college newspaper and when I went off to take a wee wee, one of the guys thought he would play a great practical joke on me and he put some exploding thing that he must have bought at a joke shop into one of my cigarettes. Of course eventually I lit the cig and the damn thing exploded right in my face and scared me three quarters of the way to death. My immediate reaction was to dive over the little bar table and knock the guy who was laughing loudest over the back of his chair onto the floor and then I pounced on him like a snapped psychotic. Took two guys to pull me off the jokester. Hardee har har. As Daughter Shannon would say Ė Laugh it up Chuckles.  Anyway, I know it was no big deal but I personally have a hang-up about being played. There are few things in life I hate more than that. I think it's a sore spot for me, a hangover from a childhood of being continually told I was nobody and would amount to nothing. What I learned eventually was to fight back, you know, push back on anyone who thought I was weak or gullible. Protect myself. Kev, of course, does not have such a history and so hopefully doesn't take such things as seriously as I would. He's a great kid with a ton of talent and as far as I know not a person who would go out of their way to be mean. Kev wouldn't write phony love letters to anyone and leave them on their door. Only an asshole does that. Plus who has time for such childishness? I personally have better things to do, like eating Chik-Fil-A sammys, and wondering if would get arrested for rocking a college kid.

Oh one more thing I wanted to mention. Today I was leaving the parking garage at the subway and some guy cut me off with his car and instinctively (there's that word for the second time tonight) I said out loud "Douchebag!" I love this word. It reminded me of when I was a kid, maybe 10 and I first heard the term douchebag from my Italian buddy Emil Coiro who got it from his older brother Anthony who added the qualifier "typical" so that it became a phrase "typical Douchebag." I immediately fell in love with the whole thing because it sounded both dirty and funny, a combination I could never resist. Anyway, as with anything brand new I immediately had to take it out for a spin and the first person I happened to see was a friend of my father's, a guy in his mid-20s named Jack O'Brien who was an Irish guy with a wife and baby and a nice head of blonde hair, who lived in our apartment building. So I simply strode up to up to Jack and for some reason I assumed an Irish brogue that made me sound like the Lucky Charms leprechaun and I said in my 10-year old voice -  "Jack O'Brien, you typical douchebag."  Jack was not amused. Jack was also apparently a pussy, because while he did not respond to me and my terrific brogue, within an hour I was being called home and severely punished by my mother, who couldn't stand me anyway, for calling an adult a typical Douchebag. Jack sold me out. Really, though, I'm not sure I should have been punished so badly. I mean, I didn't even know what it meant. Still don't, really.  Well I know now, thanks to the trusty Internet, that douchebag is a pejorative term that means "a person, usually male, with a variety of negative qualities, specifically arrogance and engaging in obnoxious and/or irritating actions." Oh, now I get it. A douchebag is a kid at Syracuse University who plays practical jokes on terrific kids who do not deserve it. Typical. Jack O'Brien would be proud.


Posted at 11:15 pm by BronxBoy
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Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Weds., Nov. 10, 2010

Cheez it Ė it's the dancing dimwit

Tonight after our disastrous dancing at the Cali wedding over the weekend, La Sooze and I dragged ourselves back to the dahncing studio for another lesson. Can't get enough. We just got back. Boy are my tootsies killin' me.  We actually pre-paid for five lessons and so even though I was as graceful as Christopher Reeves on the ol' dance floor on Saturday I felt like I had to go tonight since, well, we're invested. This was all after I had sent my beloved La Sooze an e-mail today at work saying I will never dance again and that in fact I will never go to another wedding reception unless my own children are being wed, and even then I will not dance but instead sulk at the head table. But where was I tonight a 6 bells? Staring at myself in a room length mirror holding La Sooze's hand in a c-shaped cup formation, our bodies in a perfect V shape and our little Twinkle Toes instructor Al was reminding us that the steps for the swing dance are slow-slow-quick-quick-slow-slow. I like Twinkle Toes Al (TTA) btw, mainly because he is built like me Ė slight - and he dresses like he cares. He always wears a tie, for one thing, and last week he wore a short, soft black leather jacket with a zipper in the front. I expected him to bust a Saturday Night Fever move at any moment. See at this point, after our complete wedding reception flamenco flame out, I am somewhere in-between "F this crap" and "dammit I know I can do this and I will not quit." Of course I could keep saying the latter for another 5 or 10 lessons and I could still be the dancing dimwit and be like $1000 in the hole to boot. I don't know what to do. TTA said La Sooze and I looked much better tonight but then, TTA is getting paid to keep us coming back. A little complimento never hurts. If he had seen us Saturday, me especially, like a lame horse clumping around in my dress shoes, he might have suggested I take up watercolor painting. Next lesson btw is next week and we have to make a decision on whether to continue or not. Oh, and tonight we were talking to TTA about the fact that we really have no reason to dance anywhere if we do not have a wedding to attend and so he suggested we attend a New Year's Eve dance at the studio which features much rug cutting and plastic cups of champagne. Al said the age range at these swinging soirees "starts at 58 and goes to a woman who is 91." He did not start the age range at something general that I could relate to like "mid-50s." No, he specifically said "58" as if he knows the exact birthdates of every New Years attendee. This would, of course, make La Sooze and I the kids at the dance. And a 91-year old woman, eh? I'm sure she'll be calling out for some Lil' Wayne. Can't wait to shake a leg with that granny.

This whole dance thing reminds me of when I learned to play guitar, which was now about 10 years ago which means I didn't pick-up the ol' axe until I was in my 40s or close to it. I don't actually remember when I started. I am not one of those people who recalls specific dates and years in their life. In fact due in part to my superb alcoholism there are entire years I cannot recall. Gone. Like that. So when I started playing guitar whenever it was, I picked it up because it was something I always had wanted to do but never thought I possibly could mainly because I have zero musical knowledge and also because I have the hands of a midget. I had it in my head for some reason that you needed mitts the size of Johnny Bench, a reported homosexual, but nonetheless ol' Johnny boy could hold seven baseballs in one hand at one time according to a website about Johnny which mentioned nothing about his sexual orientation. But this was not true. I mean if you have huge hands and long fingers it would not hurt your guitar playing but it's not necessary. Not that I am a great guitarist; I am not. Not even remotely. But I did learn how to play a little. When I first started to learn I was writing songs that I could not actually play and so I would give my songs to a friend of mine who was vewy, vewy good on the guitar and I would hum the tune to him and he would play it and record them for me. This was terrific and really made me want even more to be able to play because I thought my songs sounded pretty good. Hate myself, don't I? I am wondering if I can transfer this method to the booty shaking. Like, is there a way I could get Twinkle Toes Al to do this for me. Perhaps I could bring him with me to the next wedding and he could dance with La Sooze, or at the very least he could wear his little leather jacket and stand beside us and go "slow-slow-quick-quick-slow-slow" as I stumbled around and he could tell me continually to drop my hand so I can better lead my partner. This would clearly motivate me. Or perhaps la Sooze, a sucker for a buttery black leather waistcoat, might dance off with him forever thus freeing me of the pressure to actually learn.  I am doomed by dancing.

Btw as I'm writing this tonight I keep getting up and grabbing handfuls of Cheese Nips from a box I have left open on the kitchen counter. I do not have them beside me here at the table where I am writing because I do not want to keep eating them, but I am totally compelled to do so. Delish. I was just thinking though that there is a distinct taste difference between Cheese Nips and Cheez-Its, both of which are little cheesy crackers with the nutrition value of a shoe. I could not possibly describe this difference except maybe to say that the Its actually taste somewhat like a dried up piece of cheese with salt on it, and the Nips taste more like a Friday night when I was a kid watching black and white television with my parents.  In the spirit of full disclosure I am usually in the tank for Cheez-Its, but La Sooze recently bought the Nips instead and now I'm fully engaged in and stuffing my face with them and there are orange crumbs all over my keyboard. I may have to reassess my cheese cracker preferences when this is all over.

So listen I am tired and may try to go to bed tonight before midnight. As you know from our story La Sooze and I got in vewy, vewy late Sunday from Cali, like 1 in the morning Monday actually if you took Daylight Savings time out of the equation. When we got home neither of us had eaten dinner and so we did then, me taking to the house chicken legs and barbecue ribs my Cali aunt AK had made while I was there and packed for us to take home. This is my favorite all-time dish btw,  total comfort food. Then I went to bed with a bellyful of ribs and chicken. Last night I also stayed up past midnight because La Sooze and I wanted to catch-up on the episode of HBO's Boardwalk Empire that we had missed while we were traversing the country in the belly of an airplane tube Sunday night. Boardwalk Empire btw is an awesome show. If you are not watching it you are less a person because of that.

Anyway the one thing I have not mentioned to you about our trip to Cali is that we left God View last Thursday with three people Ė me, la Sooze and Daughter Shannon Ė and we returned with just two. Daughter Shannon remained in Cali where she is spending time the next couple of weeks with my family, specifically right now in Irvine with my cousin Kathy Mary who I adore, and her terrific hubby Rajah and their stunning children Meg, Jen and Johnny Boy. Shannon is just chilling and doing some family time which is awesome since these are my blood relatives and so they can reinforce for her that I am not that much of a complete nut job and that there are others out there similar to me. Well they are not exactly whack jobs of my caliber but they can at least understand why I am this way. Few others do. Anyway Shannon, my boobala and first born and only daughter, is now nearly 23 years of age. I, of course was married by the time I was 23, though it would be more than a decade before I would actually grow up. Anyway, despite her great maturity and adulthood and the fact that we don't really see her that much at home, I have to say that I miss the little nipper. Shannon is just a great person, sweet and funny and smart and so damn easy to be with. I like being around her. I spoke with her today and she is digging the Cali vibe and weather and family as I do, but I still miss her. She is, after all, a key member of the Fab Five and right now with Little Kev in Syracuse and Sean the Chief in Boston, La Sooze and I are temporarily childless. Strange. This is another reason I want to go to bed early. I have nothing else to do. No kids. La Sooze is over at her mom aka Mema's apartment watching a television show they watch together each week and, sadly, I have now finished all the Cheese Nips. Dammit. Maybe I'll ring up Twinkle Toes Al. I could use a little rumba to complete my night.


Posted at 10:41 pm by BronxBoy
Comment (1)  

Monday, November 08, 2010
Tues., Nov 9, 2010

The wedding dance

This is why I will never be honored with the prestigious Baltimore Sun Mobbie award; because this past weekend I went to California, Cali in the vernacular, and I brought my incomparable MacBook Pro with me so I could write down every detail and share it with you. Instead it sat on the desk of the fabuloso hotel room which served as home base for La Sooze and I and did not receive a single word. Hey there lonely Mac. Award winning bloggers, we all know, do not let opportunities like this pass. I did. I am a bad, bad blogger boy. I also love alliteration. But that will not win me any awards.

So last Thursday La Sooze and Daughter Shannon and I awakened at the ungodly hour of 4:45 in the am and we schlepped in a driving and cold rainstorm that is indigenous to the black and holy east coast, to Thurgood Marshall Airport in B'more, easily the worst airport in the 50 states, and we flew to warmer, brighter climes, specifically Orange County, Cali. In fact when we arrived on Thursday in the OC it was in the high 80s and the sun was blazing and the sky an azure blue. Paradise. Living here in the east suffering through these endless winters I can tell you that at some point, not yet, maybe in January or February, I am so thoroughly disheartened by the incessant freeze that even my bones and heart and soul are cold. It is not that chilly yet here, but cold enough, and as La Sooze and Daughter Shannon and I stepped out of the Orange County Airport named after the marvelous John Wayne, I felt my bones immediately thaw. I think I will come back later in the winter.

You know I call my little nuclear family now - me and La Sooze and Daughter Shannon and Sean the Chief and Little Kev - the Fab Five (FF). Well four of the Fab Five were in Cali to attend a wedding. The missing link was Little Kev who did not come to Cali but chose instead to stay in the already snowing college town of Syracuse to keep at his studies. He was missed. The FF is just not the same without him.  Anyway the Fab Five minus one was out west to attend the wedding of my cousin Pat's daughter, the lovely Katy. On Saturday, Katy married a former college football player named Chris who my Cali aunt, AK, told us was described to her by female neighbors as "eye candy." This is not a description that has ever been applied to me. Be that as it may, may I report that Chris is an attractive and strapping and successful young man.  As a former collegiate football star I assume he could kick my ass on a moment's notice but would not because he is now a family member, though that did not stop my mother.

Anyway as a preview to our trip to Cali I must tell you that Number One Son Sean, who is also a collegiate and no doubt could be described as eye candy by some, met us in Cali along with his roommate and friend Eric, ditto on the eye candy. Sean and Eric actually co-wrote a song for Katy and Chris which they played at the actual wedding reception on Saturday and it was terrific and I actually danced to the song with my cousin Pat, the mother of the bride. What a moment that was. My own son crooning and tinkling the ivories of an electric piano, handsome and talented Eric caressing the guitar, the room full of family members from both sides who had flown in from the four corners of our great world, and I recall only my diminutive cousin Pat and I swaying on the dance floor talking about families and how far we both had come, and here we were in a yacht club in Southern California and her stunning daughter was being married and my beautiful son was singing and we were realizing each of us in our way, shifting in a small circle to the music, that we had both grown up, and that things had turned out pretty damned good for us both. 

Which reminds me. In music college in Bahston, of course, Sean has no use for a suit since he is not often attending afternoon tea, and so he leaves his two terrific suits here in Miserable Maryland for La Sooze and I to watch over like guardians. So before we left last week Sean had texted La Sooze and told her that the pants on the suit he wanted to wear to the wedding were too small in the waist and was there a way we could take them and have them altered? Why sure we can. So I myself took said trousers to the dry cleaners which I visit each and every Saturday  morning to pick-up and drop off dress shirts for work and each week when I walk in the spritely Asian woman, whose name is Mi, pronounced "Me" who owns the place along with her husband, looks up from the hangars and says "oh hi Kevin" in clipped English and so we get along famously. So I take the pants to her last week and have a detailed conversation with her about taking them out one full entire inch in the waist and she says no problem and she will have them back in my Cali-bound hands by Wednesday. All good. So Wednesday La Sooze picks up the famous britches  and when I return home from work very late I anxiously drop my own pants and pull on the altered ones and as I do I notice a handwritten tag hanging from Sean's belt loop that says in clipped English "take in 1 inch." Seriously. I could not fit my foot into the damn things they were so tight.  Sean would have had to have been a straw to wear them. Up to the very moment that I read the little pants note I thought Miss Mi was a nice and hardworking woman. I now think she's learning disabled. La Sooze, at midnight mind you, had to turn into Seamstress La Sooze and alter the pants, recouping the lost inch and then adding the original inch that was lost in the translation. In the end, Sean looked great in them in Cali. Ass candy, at least.

So Friday night we attended the rehearsal dinner which was held at a nice Italian restaurant in Newport Beach and then Saturday was the wedding at a terrific little Catholic chapel on the equally terrific Balboa Island. Then it was on to the reception at the yacht club which featured an entire hallway of pictures of guys who were former Commodores of the club, including one guy from 1947 whose last name was Converse and he may have invented the sailing deck shoes. At least that's what I wanted to believe. I had time to look at all the commodore photos because, naturally this was a wedding and besides being a terrific moment to celebrate the love and incredibly bright future of a very bright young couple, it also features two things that are not my gift: drinking and dancing. The drinking you know about. But the dancing, oy. You know from our story that La Sooze and I have been taking dancing lessons, partly, at least, because we hoped to dance at Chris and Katy's wedding instead of me sitting like a schlub checking football scores on my Blackberry while La Sooze eventually gives up on my danceless and sorry behind and heads for the dance floor without me along with 99 percent of the other people at any wedding. Well listen, the dance lessons Ė not so good. We actually went up to the dance floor on Saturday and there was a very terrific band playing, and we actually danced one slow dance but I do not think we used any of the lessons taught to us by Twinkle Toes (TT) back at the studio. Instead I think we did what we always do Ė we walked in a circle. Only this time we counted the steps. It was like I had a spontaneous foot lobotomy. Then we tried to do some "swing" dance which is what we have been sweating over on the dance studio floor the last two lessons. We got about three steps into the thing when I realized I had totally forgotten every single thing TT had taught us. Gone. I couldn't even count. La Sooze ditched me. I ended up sitting alone at the meticulously decorated table while she went back out on the dance floor and danced away for herself. She had a ball. I tracked the end of the Michigan-Illinois game on my Blackberry. Michigan won in overtime. Hooray for them.

Did I tell you the entire time we were in Cali I drove my uncle's car? It is a nearly new absolutely spotless Mercedes 350 that looks and drives like a million shekels. The only drawback to this car, of course, was that I do not look like a guy who should be driving it. I am sure on Saturday morning when Daughter Shannon and I took the Benz to Huntington Beach for breakfast and I was wearing a t-shirt with the name of the hardcore punk band "Madball" emblazoned across the front, anyone seeing me thought I had either stolen it or I was taking it to have it waxed. Anyway, this morning I awoke back here in Miserable Maryland and instead of the Benzeroo I drove my white Honda Accord with the crack in the rear bumper to the subway station and went back to work where I belong. It was cold, of course, and the wind was whipping down Market Place as I headed to the office. But I was thinking as I walked about how much in love Katy and Chris looked when they slipped the gold rings on each other's fingers at the altar on Saturday, and about the mixed look of sadness and profound love on the face of Katy's father Graham when he hugged and kissed his daughter for the last time as a single woman and then handed her over to her soon-to-be husband. And I was thinking of my cousin Pat and I on the dance floor slowly swaying to Sean and Eric's love song. We have known each other since we were children. We have grown and we have gone through our stuff and there we were, adults, watching the next generation take their steps forward, and we both knew in different ways, that we have made long, long strides in our lives. And even though this morning I could feel the heartless chill of winter moving slowly in around me, I felt the Cali warmth still, right down to the core of my bones and my soul.


Posted at 10:22 pm by BronxBoy
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Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Wed., Nov. 3, 2010

Vote for the accomplished malcontent

Happy election day to one and all here in these united states. What a great moment, huh? All of those comedians who now double as political authorities are no doubt chattiní it up big time today. God bless Ďem. So listen, I have a confession to make. I did not vote today. I am not sporting  a little sticky paper button with an American flag in the background that says ďI votedĒ on my shirt.  Why is this? Because, in truth, I have pretty much made my mind up not to vote again. Ever, if I can help it. I am tired of the whole thing Ė the well-coiffed guys on tv endlessly talking and the radio programs and the flip talk show hosts, the advertisements, the weekly rallies for something in Washington and the phonies who legislate. Show biz. There is this song by a band called The Avett Brothers, a band I have been digging much lately. The song is called Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise. It contains a line that when I first heard it, finally tipped me to the side of conscientious voting objector Ė hell no, I wonít vote. I have been thinking about this stance for awhile. The line goes like this: ďWhen nothing is owed or deserved or expected/ and your life doesnít change by the man thatís elected.Ē Yes, thank you, boys. I am so glad I am not the only one who thinks this. Seriously, I think the whole political thing just rolls on one way or another. Doesnít matter, who we elect, the results are essentially the same. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Plus I do not care any more about a Barrack Obama or a Sarah Palin than they or any of these other wealthy tools care about me. So Iím done with it, and I feel good. Whatís really cool about this decision is that it frees me now from ever having to watch any political talk shows or having to get into any political discussions or read any of this nonsense that has so little to do with my little life. CNN Ė buh bye. Now I can watch Boardwalk Empire on HBO and not have to worry about where I stand on gay marriage or health insurance. Ahhhh. Actually Boardwalk Empire, which btw I loooove, had a lesbian love scene in it last Sunday. Much more interesting than anything Anderson Cooper would ever do for my entertainment pleasure.

Oh and speaking of voting, or not, I told you yesterday about the stunning nomination of Nation of One for a coveted Mobbie award, which is a contest being run by the Baltimore Sun for the best blog or social network site in all the land, as long as the person writing it happens to be based here in Miserable Maryland. Well today the actual Mobbie voting opened. (Btw I thought the award was called a Moobie; thatís what I called it yesterday Ė moo like cow. But itís Mob like Don Vito Corleone. Oopsie. I wonít win now for sure. Canít even spell the damn thing. ) Anyway, yes, I did say voting a few lines back there. This contest isnít like someone reads a blog and judges it and smiles broadly or smirks and flatulates and then grades your work. No, you have to actually go on the Baltimore Sun website and you have to register and you have to tell them your sex and birthday and whether you have any visible birthmarks (I just made that part up) and then you have to invent a cute name and a password and then you submit this mound of work and as a reward you get an email to confirm all this and then you actually have to go back to the site and then you actually get to vote. Oy. This is harder to do than voting for an actual Presidential or gubernatorial candidate, which you could have actually done today in less time than voting for a Mobbie. I know all this info because, naturally I went on the site today and checked it out so I could provide you some intelligence on the process. I was hoping it would be nice and easy and I could send you a swell link and we would be done with it. But no. You need everything but a passport. Pain in the butt and perhaps not worth the hassle. The winner, I think, gets their blog posted on the Baltimore Sun. Thatís why La Sooze nominated this space in the first place, because she thinks we should have a broader readership here, that the Nation should expand its borders, if you will. To be honest Iím not convinced thatís a great idea. Iíd rather keep things intimate. Just you and me and a couple of our friends mocking all the popular kids.  Honestly, Iíd prefer a few hundred bucks or a moderately used car with all-wheel drive, neither of which will happen. Anyway if youíre absolutely dead set on voting for the Nation for this go to the Sunís website (www.baltimoresun.com) and look for THE MOBBIES link near up near the banner on the right side an click away for yourself and donít forget to come up with a funtastic username. Itís up to you, of course. I donít personally care since I, myself, do not vote for anything. Except Nation of One for a best humor blog for a Mobbie, of course. I did do that, but itís such an apolitical blog I figured it was okay. Just this once.

 Oh and speaking of the Mobbies and all that, yesterday I mentioned that the Nation was one of only one or two nominated blogs that didnít have an adorable little descriptive phrase as part of it name, a little qualifier. So I asked for submissions yesterday and actually got two today Ė both of which were quite good. My music friend Bill, a terrific guitarist and songwriter and teacher suggested this possible sub-head: Miserable Marylandís Morning Muse. Not bad, huh? Alliterative to boot. Another friend, Peter, who I worked with many moons ago, suggested in an e-mail: Nation of One - Reflections of an Aspiring Curmudgeon. This is probably as accurate as it gets, though I do not think of myself so much as aspiring, more like an accomplished malcontent.  I have worked long and hard at this attitude.

So listen, I keep forgetting to tell you but this weekend I have a family affair in Cali. In fact La Sooze and I and Daughter Shannon are flying on a jet plane to Cali on Thursday and will be there for the weekend. Number One son Sean is flying there too from Bahston and will meet up with us in the idyllic cool of the west. The occasion is the marriage of my cousinís daughter, who, according to the trusty internet, is my cousin once removed but it is ok to call her my niece. Good to know. Anyway my niece on Saturday is marrying a terrific hunky guy, which makes sense since she herself is quite beautiful. My cousin is quite beautiful too, as is her sister, my other cousin. Good genes over there. What happened on my side of the fam I cannot say. Anyway I am looking forward to these few precious days with family in the Cali sun far, far away from Miserable Maryland where already today on Nov. 2 the first day of Mobbie voting, it was 28 degrees this morning and there was frost on the windshield of number two son Kevinís car parked silently on the street in front of God View. Kevin btw, is not coming to the wedding because he is a newly-minted  freshman at Syracuse University and has much work to do in writing papers that he will then pass on to me for comments. Kevin sent me a note over the weekend when it was cool here but sunny in the Miz. The note said simply: ďItís snowing like hell here.Ē I bet it was. It is Syracuse, after all. He may regret not going to Cali with us, like I may regret someday my decision to never vote for another candidate as long as I may live. I guess in the end we will both get out of these things exactly what we have put into them.


Posted at 10:38 pm by BronxBoy
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